FASEA must shape up or planners will ship out

16 July 2018

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) owes it to the financial planning industry to ensure that its next round of communication regarding education pathways for financial advisers is clear and unequivocal.

Bluntly, FASEA is perhaps the most important element in defining the future of the Australian financial planning industry yet it has had a less than stellar beginning with its efforts at communication, up to now, having created more confusion than clarity.

Indeed, events over the past eight months would seem to have justified the Association of Financial Advisers’ (AFAs’) contention that FASEA may have already lost the hearts and minds of financial planners, particularly those older planners hungry for clear detail around what they must do and what further education they must undertake to remain in the industry.

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The Government’s objective in establishing FASEA was laudable but, if she has not done so already, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, needs to have a conversation with FASEA’s chair, Catherine Walter, to determine whether the body is on track with respect to meeting the Government’s legislative objectives. Doubtless, O’Dwyer received an objective explanation for the departure of FASEA’s first chief executive, Deen Sanders.

On paper, the composition of the FASEA board suggests it should be more than capable of delivering on the objectives outlined by the Government when the underlying legislation was introduced to the Parliament. It is comprised of financial planning, superannuation, legal and tertiary education representatives, but this has not yet translated to clear messaging.

Having completed its current consultative round and with a new chief executive in place, FASEA now has an opportunity to take on board the submissions of the major stakeholders and translate them into a workable blueprint capable of seeing the financial planning industry become a profession with appropriate academic underpinnings.

However, none of that will be achieved in the absence of some genuine pragmatism with respect to accommodating and recognising, to a greater or lesser extent, the wide range of qualifications held by existing financial planners.

Putting aside the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA’s) somewhat self-interested insistence on recognition of elements of its Certified Financial Planner designation, the organisation has made some valid points about why FASEA’s regime currently fails to recognise some advice-specific qualifications whilst recognising others which are non-specific.

At the core of FASEA’s challenge is to focus on driving an appropriate outcome for the financial planning industry and consumers. It should not be about protecting the interests of the Government of the day. Nor should it be about filling the coffers of the tertiary institutions.

To achieve its objectives, FASEA has to ensure its processes are made more transparent and that its decisions are clearly communicated to those planners whose future livelihoods depend on the outcome. To do otherwise risks not only losing the hearts and minds of financial planners, but also prompting the exit of up to 8,000 planners.

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor

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Too late.

It's also more than advisers "shipping out" - who in their right mind is going to commit to $50k plus HELP debt to enter this industry with this level of uncertainty at a time when accelerated HELP repayments are going to be promoted in the future and you won't get your initial foothold in the industry at an institution any more. The FPA have self destructed after years of self interest, pussy footing and pointing the finger away from themselves - just look at their comments against mortgage brokers at the beginning of the royal commission. Everyone has lost. Idiots.

The rational decision is to study accountancy and wait for the advice and mortgage broking industries to come to you. Good game theory FPA. You won't exist in your own right in 10 years - nor the MFAA. The AFA and FBAA will go down fighting at least. They should merge.

Bang on. I’ve got a Business Degree, ADFP plus around 10 years experience but I’m planning on going back to study accounting. The reason is two fold - I’ve met some pretty dim accountants with some amazing clients, yet they still don’t understand trust distributions or income ruining centrelink, plus accountants struggle miserably with the Advisory side of their business, where the good Financial Adviser can add most value. I’m looking forward to it, it will also broaden my horizons in case I need to sell the business and take up tools in-house.

Yep, I've got Finance Degree, Post grad major uni for my RG146, Diploma Mortgage Broking, 20 years banking and finance experience. $50,000 in Uni fees. My advice to any new entrant is if you must do it make sure you have an Accounting Major first and foremost.

Currently this is a shambles at best. I still don't know which education provider I should use that will allow my qualifications to be recognised and accepted, let alone which course and how many subjects I should do...and the clock is ticking down to the deadline. I just need some ability to plan and some certainty.

Id rather pay $20k to have someone come and sit with me for a month to tick all their boxes on REAL clients than spend 100's of hours and $20k + on pretend clients as well as try to fit in my work for REAL clients. At least REAL clients pay my fees (but only if i demonstrate significant value)...These pretend clients wont pay my fees and even worse the universities want me to pay them to provide their pretend clients with advice!

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